An air compressor can come in handy especially when you’re on the go.
They can be a huge help and time saver when working on a range of projects from working on a construction site to simply inflating your tires.
However, some air compressors are large so it would be impossible to take them around with you.
For this reason, you will need a portable air compressor.
Regardless of your reason for needing a portable air compressor, this article is going to help you find one that is perfect for you.
As you know air compressors can be extremely noisy just like shop vacs and we have considered this when choosing these units.
If you’re interested in a quiet portable air compressor then keep reading.
If you’re interested in the best quiet shop vac, click the link.
5 quiet portable air compressor
Keep in mind that these compact and ultra-quiet air compressors reviewed in this guide aren’t high CFM beasts.
They do pack plenty of power that you’ll find useful for inflation, hobby painting, and operating small air nailers and staplers.
These units are designed to be extremely light and can easily be carried around.
They use less than one HP which allows them to be plugged into any standard electrical outlet due to their low amperage requirements
If the CFM power of these compressors does not meet your needs, you can check out this quiet air compressor review.
- Noise level: 56 dB
- CFM @90psi: 1.2 CFM
- Tank Size: 1 gallon
The California Air CAT-1P1060S weighs just 29 pounds and operates at a whisper-quiet level of 56 dB which makes it the quietest portable air compressor on our review list.
This unit is great for inflating tires and other items.
It can be used to power finish and pin nailers or small airbrushes.
With only 1.2 CFM and the small one-gallon air tank, do not expect it to power large air tools or other tools requiring more power.
The IP1060S is equipped with the brand new 1P series motor which includes a thermal overload protection feature that helps to prevent any damage caused by overheating.
It takes about 50 seconds to fill the one-gallon air tank from empty to 120 PSI.
The recovery time from 90 PSI back to a full 120 PSI is an incredible 15 seconds.
This unit operates on a mere 4.5 amps that allows you to plug it in almost anywhere.
- Ultra quiet only 56 Decibels
- Oil-Free pump for less maintenance & costs
- Lightweight for easy transporting - 29 lbs
- Noise level: 59 dB
- CFM @90psi: 0.8 CFM
- Tank Size: 1 gallon
The Metabo HPT EC28M comes from the Hitachi brand that is known for high-quality products.
This unit is the first in the newly introduced line of “low noise series” air compressors and it delivers on its low noise promise.
It has a decibel rating of 59 dB which is less than the noise rating of a normal conversation so the dB rating makes this unit an ideal choice when looking for a quiet small air compressor.
Meanwhile, the durable and rugged design allows you to take the compressor when you’re on the go.
It outputs 0.8 CFM at 90 PSI or 1.3 CFM at 40 PSI.
This unit is virtually maintenance-free, thanks to the industrial oil-free pump and direct drive induction motor.
it comes with a 1-gallon steel tank to store air and the tank is filled when the time pressure drops below 90 PSI and stopped at one 25 PSI pressure switch setting
The Metabo weighs just 25.2 pounds and is extremely portable and can be powered from any 120 Volt circuit since it has a low 2.8-amp current draw.
- QUIET: Ultra-quiet operation at only 59 dB's: so quiet that a normal conversation can take place...
- OIL-FREE: Quiet industrial oil-free pump provides high durability with no maintenance
- CONTROL PANEL: Integrated control panel protects the gauges and plumbing while centralizing the...
- Noise level: 60dB
- CFM @90psi: 2.35 CFM
- Tank Size: 2.5 gallon
If quality and performance are what you’re after, the Rolair JC10 Plus air compressor is worth considering.
Lesser-known Rolair Is a third-generation family-owned manufacturer of quality gas and electric air compressors.
They have earned an excellent reputation for producing high-quality contractor-grade compressors over the years.
It is possibly one of the quietest 1 HP air compressors and had a sound rating of 60 dB.
You can use it to power finish and trim air nailing tools and has a CFM rating of 2.35 CFM @90 PSI.
This 1725 RPM twin cast aluminum cylinder compressor features a low-maintenance oil-free design and only pulls 7.5 amps.
It features stainless steel reed valves and industrial-grade ball bearings which lends to the durability of the unit.
The 2.5-gallon air tank fills quickly and goes from 0 to one 25 PSI in 55 seconds.
Recovery time from the low-pressure switch kicks in at 95 PSI to a maximum air pressure rating of 125 PSI takes 14 seconds.
The quiet features on this unit include a low noise compressor motor and pump as well as heavy vibration and noise-reducing rubber feet.
There is also an air intake silencing filter that keeps noise levels down.
In terms of portability, the JC 10 Plus features a thick foam handle grip, where’s 43 pounds and measures 16.5 inches long and 14 inches high.
- 2.35 CFM at 90 psi
- 1725 RPM motor
- Oil-less design reduces maintenance and downtime
- Noise level: 68dB
- CFM @90psi: 1.2 CFM
- Tank Size: 1.3 gallon
Campbell Hausfeld DC010500 comes from a trusted brand that has been in operation since 1836.
Today, the company produces a full line of air compressors and related equipment with one of the latest additions being a quiet air compressor series.
This unit features a suitcase design that makes it easy to carry with an ergonomic grip handle.
The design also makes it easy to store and enables key compressor components to last up to four times longer.
This small compressor weighs just 29 pounds and operates at 68 decibels.
It is powered by a 0.7 HP induction motor driving a dual-piston oil-free pump.
Simply plug it into any standard 120 Volt receptacle or use an extension cord to operate it outside due to its 5 amp current draw.
This unit comes with a 1.3-gallon aluminum tank with 125 PSI maximum air pressure and has an airflow rate of 1.2 CFM at 90 PSI.
- Lightweight design (29 lbs) for convenient portability
- Greatly reduced noise: 68 decibel rating allows the user to run compressor in home environments
- Max 125 PSI, free air CFM of 1.2 @ 90 PSI and 2.0 @ 40 PSI
- Noise level: 68dB
- CFM @90psi: 0.7 CFM
- Tank Size: 1 gallon
The Senco PC1010N Air compressor is extremely lightweight, portable and quiet.
It has a noise rating of 68 decibels which allows you to use it indoors without being disturbed by the noise produced.
The compact size and lightweight nature, weighing 21 pounds, makes this unit great for moving around.
It features an effective and durable oil-free compressor pump which requires little to no maintenance.
You can use this unit for finish and trim nailers and make use of the standard quarter-inch quick universal air connector on the integrated control panel.
The ½ HP pump produces .7 SCFM at 90 PSI with a maximum air pressure setting of 135 PSI.
The Senco PC1010N Air compressor one-gallon tank has a 102-second pump-up time and a recovery time of 27 seconds.
- 1-GALLON TANK & MAX PRESSURE OF 135 PSI - less than 2 minutes to pump up and less than 30 seconds of...
- OIL-FREE - requires virtually no maintenance and lets you work in a cleaner air environment compared...
- QUIET MOTOR - provides all the power you need for finish jobs, with significantly less noise than...
Buying guide to the quietest portable air compressor
Compressors can be loud and you do not want to annoy those around you.
You also do not want to end up with hearing problems due to constant compressor use.
However, remember that there is a high chance that the less noise your compressor makes, the less power it’ll have.
Do not fall for units where manufacturers claim that they do not produce any kind of noise.
Even the quietest small air compressor will produce some level of sound during operation.
However, in these smaller and quieter models, the noise level is minimized to a tolerable level.
Air compressor motors are measured in horsepower rating.
The power of the machine has a lot to do with its capabilities and when looking for a small portable air compressor the electric motors should have at least 1/2 horsepower.
You’ll find many portable air compressors on the market and they all have different maximum pressures.
Pressure is measured in pounds per square inch(PSI).
Some units may pressurize up to 120 PSI while others can go up to 150 PSI or as high as 180 PSI.
Keep in mind the type of tools you want the power and decide the maximum pressure you will need.
For example, some impact wrenches cannot operate until they reach 60 PSI or so.
Some nail guns work at 90 to 120 PSI but if you’re driving long nails into dense or wet wood, you will need it to be at the maximum pressure of 120 PSI to complete the task better.
The volume of the tank on the compressor determines how much compressed air the machine can hold.
It also determines how often the compressor runs, how long it will run for and what tasks you can do.
Nail guns, for example, work with sharp bursts of air which means that they require very little air.
For a portable air compressor, look for a unit that has at least a 1-gallon tank.
The airflow of all air compressors is mentioned in the manufacturer’s specifications.
It is often described as CFM(cubic feet per minute).
This metric term explains how much air the compressor can output each minute while maintaining pressure during its operation.
Essentially you’ll need to get a unit that runs and maintains pressure for as long as you’re using your tool.
If the pressure is drained then you will have to stop and wait for the tank to rebuild enough pressure to continue.
For a portable compressor, look for a unit that maintains at least 2.0 CFM at 90 PSI.
A portable compressor needs to be compact and lightweight enough to make it easily transportable.
It should be able to fit into the back of your vehicle and include a carrying handle or wheels to make it easy for moving around.
Look for a compressor that you can lift easily and weighs between 20 to 30 pounds.
When purchasing a portable air compressor, look for a unit with additional features since some of these may help to extend the life of your unit or improve its functions.
Look for units with built-in roll cages that are made from either steel or aluminum.
These cages help to protect the compressor in the event it accidentally falls.
Some models may even come with sensors or protective systems that prevent the unit from overheating.
Why use the best quiet portable air compressor
While you may need to spend a few extra bucks for the quietest compact air compressor units, the reduction in noise pollution is well worth the extra dollars.
Apart from being much easier on your ears, these small compressors can be used indoors without disturbing those around you.
Benefits of the best quiet portable air compressor
Portable air compressors can be used for more than one purpose.
If you want to use a nail gun, do some spray painting or inflate your tires, a portable air compressor is just the tool you’ll need.
As the name states, portable air compressors are easier to use and transport.
They are typically compact, lightweight and feature a portable design that includes an easy carrying handle.
Air compressors are fast and they make sure you spend less time on given tasks.
Compressed air tools will perform tasks in less than half the time required for manual work.
This way tasks like spraying, nailing, sanding and hammering are faster and hassle-free.
Portable air compressors are way smaller than industrial air compressors s\and those that you would use in a workshop or garage.
Their construction is much more simple so they require little to no maintenance to function effectively.
However, you will need to check for leaks, oil the compressor if it’s so required since there are some units that use oil-free pumps and maybe clean it from time to time.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do small quiet air compressors work?
A small portable air compressor uses a motor to operate a piston which pulls in air from outside into a chamber and stuffs it into a chamber.
It continues this process until the pressure builds up enough to operate your tools or inflate your tires.
How to set up a portable air compressor?
Most portable air compressors will come fully assembled and you can use them right out of the box.
If your unit does not come fully set up then the most you will have to do is to install a quick-connect on the hose port.
In other instances, check the manual that came with your unit or do a quick search online by typing in the make and model of the air compressor for the setup instructions.
How to use a portable air compressor?
If you are using an electric compressor then you simply plug it into an electrical outlet and flip the power switch on.
The compressor will then build up pressure and you can adjust the outlet PSI with a built-in pressure regulator to match the requirement of the tool you want to power.
Does the shape of the portable air compressor impact functionality?
Portable air compressors come in different shapes but these have no impact on how the compressor works.
Some manufacturers may separate the tank into two smaller tanks which allow the unit to have a lower center of gravity
In this instance, this design aids in portability.
On the other hand, some manufacturers may design their units to take up less space.
For example, a horizontal compressor may fit under a workbench while a vertical compressor will fit better in a corner.